Is Cumin Safe During Pregnancy? Seeds, Tea, and More

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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When you’re pregnant, it can be tough to figure out what’s safe to eat. Many spices and herbs are off-limits, but cumin is one that’s up for debate. Is cumin safe to consume while pregnant?

When served in culinary quantities, cumin is safe and beneficial during pregnancy, but you should consume it in moderation. Eating cumin in normal food amounts is usually safe when pregnant.

Too much cumin can potentially lead to side effects like bleeding and flatulence. In some cultures, it is used as an abortifacient agent (however, there is no evidence it works). So if you’re going to eat cumin, do so in small amounts – the amounts typically found in food are fine.

What are the benefits of cumin during pregnancy? Are other forms of cumin safe, like cumin seeds and oil? Let’s take a closer look.

Is Cumin Safe to Eat When Pregnant?

Cumin is safe to consume during pregnancy, but moderation is key.

Cumin is a warm spice with an earthy flavor. It is made from the dried seed of the cumin plant, and is commonly used as a spice in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian cuisines.

Cumin can be found in both whole seed and ground form. It’s also available as an essential oil. Various dishes such as curries, chili, and stews often include cumin.

There are two types of cumin – regular cumin and black cumin. They both come from the same plant, but they’re different in terms of appearance and flavor. Black cumin is rare and has a sweeter, smokier taste than regular cumin. It’s also more expensive.

cumin in a wooden bowl

Experts suggest being cautious when taking cumin because too much of it can cause side effects. Cumin can also interact with some medications (source: Pharmacogn Journal). Speak to your doctor before consuming cumin if you take any medications.

In some cultures, cumin is said to induce abortion, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Some claim that cumin can also trigger labor, cramping, and premature labor. Again, no scientific evidence supports these claims (source: WebMD).

However, one journal suggests avoiding cumin while pregnant because it may cause bleeding and flatulence (Source: Frontiers in Pharmacology).

Right now, there is no set dosage of cumin to consume during pregnancy. However, the average person can safely consume up to 3g of cumin daily (source: IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy). Pregnant women should be cautious and consume less than this amount, which is around the normal amount used in food.

Can I Drink Cumin Tea or Cumin Water When Pregnant?

Cumin tea and water are safe to consume during pregnancy, but only in moderation.

Cumin tea is made by boiling cumin seeds in water and then straining the mixture. Some people add other spices to the tea, such as ginger or black pepper.

Cumin water is made in a similar way but with fewer cumin seeds. It’s easy to make it at home. Just boil a cup of water and add a teaspoon of cumin seeds. Let it steep for 5 minutes, and then strain the mixture.

When buying tea, keep an eye on some tea brands that have cumin in them, like Alattar lemon and cumin herbal tea. Always check the ingredient list before buying herbal teas during pregnancy.

Is Cumin Oil Safe When Pregnant?

Pregnant women should avoid using cumin oil because it is very concentrated.

Cumin oil is made by pressing cumin seeds to extract their oil. It has a robust and spicy flavor and is often used in cooking. Cumin oil is also used in traditional medicine.

There are no studies yet on regular cumin oil and pregnancy; however, according to an animal study, black cumin oil may cause symptoms such as hypertension and proteinuria (Source: Journal of Taibah University Medical Sciences).

Like other cumin products, too much black cumin oil can lead to side effects. Talk to your doctor first before taking any cumin products, especially in oil form.

cumin tea with ginger in a cup

Are There Benefits of Cumin for Pregnant Women?

Cumin is not only safe in small amounts, but it also offers some health benefits for pregnant women. Cumin has the following nutrients that are beneficial during pregnancy – though bear in mind you’ll only be eating very small amounts:

  • Iron: Iron is essential for pregnant women because it helps form hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood. Iron is also important for developing babies (Source: Saudi Medical Journal). The recommended daily iron intake during pregnancy is 30 milligrams (mg) per day (source: University of California San Francisco). One teaspoon (2 g) of cumin has about 1.08 mg of iron (source: USDA).
  • Fiber: Fiber is essential for pregnant women because it helps with constipation. Pregnant women’s recommended daily fiber intake is 28 grams (g) per day (source: Nutrients Journal). One teaspoon (2.1g) of cumin seeds has about 0.22 g fiber (source: USDA).

Cumin also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help with pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting (source: Pharmacogn Journal).

Cumin is safe to consume during pregnancy, but only in moderation. So spice up your life with cumin, but don’t go overboard. As always, if you are concerned about any food, spice, or herb during pregnancy, consult your doctor.